Jen’s English Tip’s – Question Tags in English
Question tags in English
Question tags are very common in spoken English. We use them to keep conversation going by involving listeners and inviting them to participate. The most common patterns are: positive sentence Ė negative tag, or negative sentence Ė positive tag.
Youíre Jenny, arenít you?
It isnít a very nice day, is it?
We repeat the auxiliary verb in the tag. If there is no auxiliary, use do/does/did.You havenít been here before, have you?You can speak French, canít you?We must take the dog out, mustnít we?She eats meat, doesnít she?Banks close at four, donít they?You went to bed late, didnít you?
Be careful with question tags with IímÖIím late, arenít I?Notice the meaning if yes and no in answers to question tags.ĎYouíre coming, arenít you?í ĎYes.í I am coming or ĎNo.í I am not coming.The meaning of a question tag depends on how you say it.
If the tag falls, the speaker expects people to agree with him/her.Beautiful day, isnít it?Itís just the sort of weather for swimming, isnít it?Iím a silly person, arenít I?You donít like my mother, do you?If the tag rises, the speaker is asking for confirmation.
The speaker thinks he/she knows the answer, but isnít absolutely sure.Your name is Abigail, isnít it?Youíre in advertising, arenít you?You work in the city, donít you?We can also use question tags with negative sentences to make a polite request for information or help.You couldnít lend me your car this evening, could you?
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